Sunday, September 21, 2014

Random Reality Updates - Week Ending 9/21/14

As we do every so often, we at Less Than Reality are giving you some updates from the week.

First and foremost, Fashion Police will continue its run, even though star Joan Rivers has passed. The consensus seems to be that Joan would want it that way, and I agree. One of my initial reactions was that this was a decision based on money (as the show will continue to make money for the E! network), but because this decision was made with consent from Melissa Rivers, I believe that the show truly will continue to honor Joan's legacy.

Whether you loved her or hated her, Joan Rivers truly made an impact on us and the entertainment industry. We hope her family finds peace during this difficult time, and Fashion Police truly does live up to Joan's expectations.

Second, rumors about models at New York Fashion Week putting out cigarettes in Kendall Jenner's drink are circulating the web. They think she didn't earn her spot like they did, and it was handed to her on a silver platter. Well, yeah, they aren't wrong. The thing is, that's not really Kendall's fault. I'm sure if any of the other models had the opportunity, they'd skyrocket right to the top too. That being said, rumors of Kendall's diva behavior are also rampant, so it may not just be her fame causing trouble, but her actions as well.

Mama June and Sugar Bear from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are no longer, thanks to allegations of Sugar Bear's cheating. Is this truth or a plot to keep their reality show relevant? We are not convinced. However, we do hope all parties involved are able to move forward for the sake of Alana and her siblings.

Rumors swirled that Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice are expecting a baby, but their camp is saying that is 100% false. Can you imagine Teresa being pregnant and facing jail time or house arrest? Not great. I'm sure more truth - and more information that is less than truth - will come out before we learn the outcome of their case.

That's it for the important news, at least from the Less Than Reality camp. More to come as news arises!

Monthly Subscription Boxes: What We Love (And Don't Love) So Far - Including Fabletics, AdoreMe, Ipsy and More!

If you aren't familiar, there's a trend out now where you order monthly subscriptions and receive either chosen or surprise packages. Below are reviews of some of the sites I've tried and what I think so far.

JustFab: High heels and wedges and clothes, oh my! (Get it? Like lions and tigers and bears?) Anyway, I recently gave in and tried JustFab. I originally strayed from this site because I just don't need a pair of new shoes every month. However, JustFab is way more than shoes. They've got clothes, handbags and accessories. Most items cost $39.95, but your first item is half price, and the site's clearance section is great. Plus, you earn points for every dollar spent and can redeem it for cool stuff, like clothes, nail polish and more. With JustFab, you set up a monthly credit card payment and choose an item each month, but if you want to skip the month, either select to skip it or let your credit card be charged, then spend the money whenever. And shipping is free!

Fabletics is the sister site of JustFab, and it focuses on workout gear. As a VIP member, you choose an outfit from the site's collection each month at a discounted price. You can also snag single items, but they aren't as discounted as if you buy the full outfit. Not sure you'll like an outfit? No worries, because there are tons of choices, and beyond that, there are lots of color choices for each outfit. Like with JustFab, you can cancel any month with no obligation, and you earn points for free outfits for each dollar spent and for writing reviews. This site also features free shipping.

GoldenTote is the one site that I am not at all enamored with, but others seem to be, so I guess it deserves a writeup here. Unlike the sites above (Fabletics and JustFab), you don't have to provide a monthly credit card payment. You sign up each month by picking an item or two that you like (depending on whether you choose the $49 or $149 package) and get a package with the things you choose, as well as mystery items. A major flaw for me is that this site does not offer free shipping, and if you return your tote (it's an all-or-nothing deal), you have to find your own way to ship your package back, and you have to pay for the return. You'll get the cost of your original shipping back, to be fair, but it's still annoying to do.

AdoreMe: Love, love, love! Bras, panties, lingerie, pajamas, corsets, swimwear...and at reasonable prices, and with sale items available! The best part is that once you buy six items at full price, your seventh is free. This stuff is great - the swimwear is flattering, the bras have support, and the lingerie is adorable. I highly recommend!

Julep: Love nail polish? Love makeup? Then you'll love Julep. What's cool about Julep? You get your first box free! There's always a code to get a free month, so you can give it a try without making a commitment. And, you can pay for 3 months in advance to snag a discount on the monthly subscription. This is definitely worth a try, as you can try it free of charge, minus a $3 shipping fee.

Ipsy: Lipstick! Makeup! Hair stuff! This is amazing and only $10 a month. One of my absolute favorites.So exciting, and it comes with a makeup bag every time. Plus, you earn points as you shop and review, which I love.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

VH1 Couples Therapy Season 5 Premiere: 9/10/14

This episode of Couples Therapy was basically an introduction to the stars of the season, which Dr. Jenn says will be very volatile.

The first to arrive were Juan Pablo Galavis and Nikki Ferrell. If you don't know who they are, think about the last season of The Bachelor, where Juan Pablo (JP), the most hated bachelor ever, didn't propose or say he loved Nikki, even after she poured her heart out. And then he made an insensitive comment about why we shouldn't have a season of the bachelor featuring gay couples. Not great. Nikki, from her opening statements, insists that Juan Pablo loves her, even though he won't say it. Eeeeek.

Next up was Deena Cortese of Jersey Shore fame, along with her boyfriend Chris Buckner. The pair's next goal is to move in together. A major point of contention is that Deena wants to be a young mom, but Chris doesn't want to be a young dad. Deena, per Chris, needs to be more open to compromise. Chris has trouble dealing with the fact that Deena has a lot more money than he does. Note that Chris is 25 and Deena is 27.

Treach Criss from Naughty By Nature and his girlfriend Cicely Evans arrived next. Originally, they'd met when Treach said he'd help her reach her acting dream, but instead he got her pregnant. They've been dating for seven years. Cicely says that Treach has not been faithful, although Treach maintains that he's only had flings when the pair are broken up. When she brought up her concerns, Treach told Cicely to get over it. Treach seems to have trouble admitting his problems. Great.

"Evel Dick" Donato and Stephanie Fisher joined the house. Evel gained his fame on the eighth season of Big Brother. Dick is known for being an a**hole...as he openly admits. He and Stephanie broke up 10 months ago but came to Couples Therapy to try to rekindle their relationship. Stephanie said the things she originally liked about Dick became annoying, and Dick doesn't want to change.

Stephanie arrived after Dick, and while Dick had said he misses Stephanie a lot, Stephanie seemed a little hesitant to see him. Things only got worse when Stephanie said she may want kids and Dick made it clear he does not want any more kids. Because Stephanie had recently changed her stance from not wanting kids, this took Dick by surprise.

Side note: Dick told Juan Pablo that he'd beat him out as the biggest villain on reality TV...and Juan seemed a little too proud of that.

The couples met Dr. Jenn Berman and Dr. Mike Dow for an introduction. The next day, Juan Pablo and Nikki had the first private session with Dr. Jenn. It became clear that Juan Pablo focuses on the immediate future, not the long term, which concerns Nikki. She feels that he's too nonchalant about everything. Dr. Jenn assessed that the couple has power struggles.

Treach and Cicely argued about Treach's cheating and some other stuff...I think we'll hear a lot of this throughout the season.

Jenna Jameson and John Wood will join the house in a future episode, but they have yet to arrive. If you aren't aware, Jenna's a porn star.

Looking forward to a crazy season!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story - Recap & Review

Tonight, Labor Day 2014, is the day we've all been waiting for. We're so excited...we're so scared...because tonight is The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story!!! Thank you, Lifetime Network, for indulging us with this special event.

The two hour Saved By the Bell event opened with the cast heading to an event and wondering if they were going to be popular enough. And to their surprise, they were greeted by a crowd of screaming fans.

Image from Amazon.com
The actor playing Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris) started to talk to us about the show, and then the guy playing Dustin Diamond (Samuel "Screech" Powers) stepped in. He became the narrator. He told us the show was originally supposed to be about the teachers, not the kids. (This is why the show was originally Good Morning Miss Bliss.)

Dustin appeared with his dad, who gave him trouble about following his dream.

Next was Lark Voorhees' audition. While Lisa Turtle was supposed to be a Jewish princess type, Lark changed their minds.

Dustin read lines with Mark-Paul, which led to their casting.

We next found out that NBC passed on Good Morning Miss Bliss, but the fledgling Disney Channel decided to give it a chance.

Next up was a run-through, and Dustin Diamond distracted people with his antics, which people found funny. Dustin said he finally felt like he'd found a home. Fast forward 5 months, and the show was cancelled. A bunch of studio execs talked about it and said they could put the show in the Saturday morning lineup on NBC, even though that time slot was typically for cartoons. They also decided to make the show primarily about the kids (not typical for the time), move the show to California and tap into a new audience share.

An exec said he would call the show When The Bell Rings.

Dustin, talking about disliking his life with his dad, got a call saying that the show would come back and focus on the him and Zack (although we'd later find out that Screech's part would be less significant).

Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley met before their audition and became friends. They said they both wanted to be taken seriously and hated that they were going up against each other. (At this point, both were going up for Kelly Kapowski.) Jennie Garth was knocked out of the running (who even knew she was considered?) The team decided they liked both Tiffani-Amber and Elizabeth, so they wrote a new character for Elizabeth, who would become Jessie Spano.

Dustin arrived on set full of hope, and immediately got blown off by Mark-Paul, who was talking to Mario Lopez (AC Slater).

Everyone was told to keep your personal relationships professional. Meanwhile, Mark-Paul and Lark were holding hands under the table. Uh-oh.

We watched the actors struggle in their new rehearsals, and Dustin popped out of the locker he was hiding in asking when he could come out. He was shot down, saying he'd have to wait until his part came up.

The actors also struggled in school. When the teacher stepped out of the classroom, the kids talked about if the producers asked what their talents are. Mario Lopez revealed that he was a dancer and asked Elizabeth Berkley to dance with him. Mario revealed that he's a wrestler, and Dustin piped in saying he will get his karate black belt. Nobody seemed to care. Mark was called out for not being blonde, and he revealed that he's the first member of his family to be born in America. After that, Mark-Paul pointed out that the group needs to work together and we flipped to the next scene.

The group did a live taping and it went well. The group began to trust each other, per Dustin's commentary. The group bowed after the taping was done, and everyone got a positive reaction, specifically Dustin and Mark-Paul, although Mark-Paul by far got the most applause.

Unfortunately, reviews were brutal. They said the show wasn't great and the cast was chosen for their looks, not talent. Dustin asked why everyone was so upset because the show is for kids. In response, Mark-Paul read a scathing review of Dustin's acting. Dustin said, "So?" but he was clearly hurt and walked away.

Dustin walked into an exec's office while the exec said that he wasn't sure about Seinfeld because he's too Jewish. Dustin asked why Screech has to be so dorky. All the other characters were cool, and he didn't like that. Dustin felt like the others couldn't separate Dustin from his character Screech.

The group was told that the series wasn't doing as well as the network hoped. The show got cancelled again. Then, in 1990, people talked about the show and it got popular. The show got another chance. Peter Engel was told that the ratings went through the roof. Then we were back at the initial scene where the kids were mobbed at an appearance. Dustin Diamond even got the attention he was craving - people loved him for being funny. It was completely crazy at the event - people even took Zack's jacket right off of him.

Executives talked about the show's success and how they need to protect the funny, innocent image of the stars. Pictures of the cast that could undermine the image got out, and the execs were not happy.

Mark-Paul fought with his mom because he wanted a car and she was only giving him a small allowance. He had a hissy fit when his mom asked if he wanted to be grounded for his attitude.

Fans approached the female cast as they shopped, even though Elizabeth Berkley was complaining about having graduated high school and still feeling like she's stuck in high school on the show. The fans said they felt like they knew the characters. One girl said that it's like watching her life on TV. This led the girls to say that the show should tackle real issues that teenagers can relate to.

Dustin said the cast spent a lot of time waiting around and being bored. As an example, Dustin hid a fake spider and scared a crew member, who said she hates working with kids. On the flip side, Mario brought girls to the set, and you can use your imagination to figure out what happened next. Dustin imagined himself as a tough guy surrounded by girls, but that wasn't real, and his daydream was interrupted by getting a script which would again show him as a funny guy.

Mark-Paul got Lark a birthday gift. Lark said she doesn't like to make a big deal out of her birthday. Lark admitted that as a Jehovah's Witness, she's not supposed to celebrate holidays or her birthday. Still, she appreciated the gesture. She said on the show she's learning about things she's not supposed to do, but she wants to. The pair almost kissed before Elizabeth accidentally interrupted them. After Lark ran off, Elizabeth asked if Lark and Mark-Paul were dating and he said he thought so. Mark-Paul said he felt stifled by the network, and he was upset that he couldn't go out with the girl he liked.

Tiffani-Amber showed Mark-Paul an upcoming script, and in this episode, they'd kiss. Mark-Paul pointed out their first kiss together would be in front of the cast, crew and audience. Tiffani said they should practice, and Mark gave her a small kiss. Tiffani said they need to make it look real, and Mark said Tiffani has to kiss him back. They practiced again, and this time it looked real.

The cast took a group photo, and then Tiffani and Mark took photos together. Lark didn't like how flirty Tiffani was being with Mark. Lark nudged Tiffani and said it was an accident, but it was not. Then the two tried to outdo each other and get closer to the camera.

Mario did push ups, and Dustin tried to do the same. He couldn't keep up, and Mark pulled him up. Dustin called Mario a prick, which started a confrontation. Next time you know, everyone's arguing.

Life began to imitate art, and if you wanted to know who was dating in real life, you looked at who was dating on the show.

We found out Dustin's first kiss was Screech's first kiss - with Violet, played by Tori Spelling. (He spoke very highly of Tori, by the way - not sure if that's real or a suck up.) Anyway, his real love life wasn't as successful as Screech's - instead of liking him, girls were into Mark-Paul.

The execs argued about whether the show should be strictly funny or have real life situations that teenagers can relate to. It turns out the network loved it.

Dustin showed an exec's daughter something at the studio, and the daughter called him Screech. When her dad corrected her, Dustin said it was fine. The exec said Dustin looked like he was doing well.

Next up was the script for the episode where Jessie was addicted to pills. The actress playing Elizabeth reenacted the scene. Dustin laughed and said Elizabeth is just playing a girl with a caffeine pill addiction, not heroin. The others congratulated Elizabeth for her great performance. Dustin went outside and kicked a garbage can, where he met up with a guy working on a show as an extra. He offered Dustin a swig of vodka, which he accepted and subsequently spit out. He offered him another sip and this time he didn't spit it out.

Fast forward to 1991 and the third season. The show is highest rated for Saturday morning, is in syndication and was given new scenarios. New love interests were brought in. Per Dustin Diamond, the actors had a lot of free time on their hands because they could play their characters with no effort at all. The actors realized that as the show became more popular, they were trapped in their roles. When Elizabeth Berkley went for an audition, she was laughed at because she was just an actress on a kids' show.

Lark got upset because of the pictures of Tiffani-Amber and Mark-Paul in magazines. Mark insisted that they were just friends. Lark asked what she and Mark are, and he said he didn't know because they never got to hang out. Lark said she and Mark are just as fake as Zack and Kelly and that they're nothing. Then she walked away.

Someone made fun of Dustin, saying he's the only one who's not getting any. Dustin got mad and punched the guy.

Dustin was reading a script and got bad news from Peter Engel. Peter said he'd gotten bad news. Brandon Tartikoff and his daughter Calla were in a car accident. Brandon was being transferred out of the ICU, but Calla had severe injuries. Dustin was clearly upset by this. He took out his energy with drinking and punching bags.

Execs discussed that the show should go longer than four years, which would represent four years of high school. They weren't under contract for as long as it would take, but they said they'd convince the kids.

To do this, the kids were told they'd be going on trips to different places:
Mark-Paul and Tiffani-Amber would go to Paris. (Awesome.)
Lark and Elizabeth were given New York. (Awesome.)
Mario got Miami. (Awesome.)
Dustin got Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Ouch.)

Dustin and his friend Eric the extra, who had introduced him to alcohol, hung out in North Carolina. They drank and the friend convinced him they'd get girls. Unfortunately, Dustin acted like a fool and the local affiliate threatened to drop the show because of it. Dustin asked why nobody else gets in as much trouble as he does. He said everyone's treated as if they're better than him. Dustin was advised that the biggest mistake he can make is thinking he has something to prove. Dustin's dad yelled at him, and Dustin said that for once he was normal - he got wasted and laid. He pointed out that his dad wanted a normal son, and that's what he finally go.

Mark-Paul and Tiffani-Amber were offered wine in Paris, which they tried, but Mark did not like. Tiffani broke the news to Mark that she and Elizabeth decided not to extend their contracts and were leaving the show. Mark understood Elizabeth wanted to do that because she's wanted to do movies, but he didn't understand Tiffani. She said she wanted to grow and do more. Mark asked what Saved By the Bell is without Zack and Kelly. Tiffani said Mark should go show the world who he really is. He asked what if he doesn't know who he really is. Tiffani pointed out that Saved By the Bell won't last forever so he better figure it out.

Elizabeth and Tiffany said goodbye to the cast. As the left, they saw Leanna Creel, the girl that was cast as Tori to replace them. They questioned whether they did the right thing because it felt so bad.

Mark-Paul rolled up to Mario on a motorcycle he bought. He said his mom didn't know about it. Mario pointed out that this went against the no dangerous activities clause in their contract.

Dustin next discussed the craziness of the last season - episodes with Kelly and Jessie versus episodes with Tori, all mixed together. The show, and the cast's lives, were chaotic. We saw a scene of Dustin and his friend smoking weed. His friend filmed it. His friend asked what Peter Engel said about him getting a role as Tori's ex-boyfriend. The friend said he'd need to stay on top of Peter about that.

Following that was a party scene. Mario asked Mark to go to another party in the hills. Mark resisted, saying he'd miss curfew, but they decided to go. Elizabeth was at the party where Mark was initially, and Mark said Elizabeth looked great. Elizabeth said Mark looked relaxed. She also said she was up for a movie role.

Dustin's friend showed Dustin the recording he took of him smoking weed. He said Dustin should have tried to get him better parts. If he didn't start doing that, he'd release the video to the press. Dustin was shocked that the guy was just using him and wasn't really his friend. The guy said he wanted a piece of the dream. (I think we all saw this coming.)

In 1993, the execs talked about the kids acting like hooligans. They discussed that the kids need to grow up and the show would come with them. The kids filmed a graduation scene. Elizabeth and Tiffani showed up. Tiffani admitted she missed being on set with everyone. Someone asked where Dustin was, and Mark-Paul went to find him. When Mark found him, Dustin looked depressed. Mark asked what's going on, and admitted that he knew things weren't always easy for Dustin there. Mark apologized for ever being a jerk and said it was stupid kid stuff. Dustin admitted to Mark that Mark was right about his friend Eric the extra.

The reading was supposed to begin and Dustin and Mark were still talking. Mark told Dustin to tell the network and they'd bury Eric in lawsuits. Mark said that the conversation they were having may have been the longest they've ever had. They then went to do the reading.

We watched the filming of the graduation scene, along with flashbacks of earlier scenes. The execs talked about how the show is over, until one said she had a feeling this was far from over. This was correct - the team came back for The College Years, which lasted one season.

Dustin talked us through what the cast members did after the show ended:
- Lark kept acting (although she had a crazy plastic surgery scandal a few years back).
- Mario did TV, movies and was the host of Extra.
- Elizabeth got her spot in the movie Showgirls, which wasn't great, but she bounced back and appeared on Broadway.
- Tiffani dropped the Amber and got a spot on 90210.
- Mark landed on NYPD Blue.
- Dustin said some part of him will always be Screech, and he's okay with that. (If I recall, he did some comedy and was on a VH1 show, but none of that went great.)

And that is the end of the Saved By the Bell story...at least as this story told it.

My Review of the Movie:

While this may have been an unauthorized Saved By The Bell story, it certainly seemed to be authorized by Dustin Diamond, as it read pretty clearly as a Screech sob story. Actually, I hear that it's based off Dustin's book, so that makes sense. Oddly enough, it still doesn't even remotely come off as endearing for Dustin Diamond. Yeah, you feel somewhat bad for him, but you'd think this would make him look much better if this is based off of his writing!

The actors captured the mannerisms of the characters pretty well. The guy who played Mario Lopez was spot on, assuming Mario Lopez acts just like Slater in real life. Additionally, when the actors reenacted scenes from Saved By the Bell, it looked pretty accurate. It was great that we saw a copy of the "I'm so excited...I'm so scared" pill scene, because that really is one of the great ones.

Was this movie a great work of cinematic genius? Of course not. But it's a Lifetime movie, so we expected it to be a bad movie - that's why we're watching it. This is absolutely a must watch for all Saved by the Bell fans. You'll enjoy what you learn about the characters you loved.

Shopping We Love: Reviews of Fabletics and Adore Me

Aside from reality TV, shopping is one of my passions. While I love everyday clothes, there are two types of clothing that I love to shop for - underwear and workout clothes. Why? One is worn close to your body and makes you look your best (that would be underwear - including bras, specifically) and one makes you feel good while you do what's right for your body - work out.

There are tons of monthly subscription services out there, and Fabletics and Adore Me are two of my favorites.

Fabletics:

Hello, workout gear! If you want a crazy range of sports bras, tops, hair accessories, yoga mats, gym bags, and whatever else you might possibly need, Fabletics is the place to go. This monthly subscription service gives you monthly deals on complete outfits. So, if you're not good at picking out pieces to go together, no problem - Fabletics does it for you.

My favorite part of Fabletics is the point system. (Oh, and the fact that your first outfit is half price - amazing deal!) Anyway, the point system gives you a point per dollar you spend, points for writing reviews, and I think points for some other stuff. When you earn 1,000 points, you get a free outfit. It is true and it works - I just cashed in my points and got something new and awesome. And, I earned points for reviewing the free items.

I love that this site encourages writing reviews, because they publish them all - both good and bad. So our opinions are heard, and the site can adapt based on what we've said.

The best part of Fabletics is how innovative it is. The clothing is so unique. I get tons of compliments on the things I've bought, and these are not your everyday workout clothes. From bras that match the cuts of the tank tops and choices like pants with hombre faded colors (LOVE!), this site is great. Plus, there are extra deals when you check out - you can get $10 tank tops along with your chosen outfits.

A major bonus is the great customer service at Fabletics. When I had a pricing issue, customer service fixed it right away and I was good to go. Oh, and another bonus - when you pick outfits, there are many colors for each item, and you can mix and match your color choices to get exactly what you want. Seriously, this site is the place to go for yoga, running, aerobics wear - whatever you do. This site is great.

Adore Me:

First and foremost, Adore Me is a one stop shop for everything undergarment, swim, and workout related. You can buy all of the following from this one site, using their monthly discount subscription service:
- Bras
- Underwear
- Swimwear
- Corsets
- Sleepwear
- Activewear

They've got a crazy range of sizes from the very small to plus size, which means they have something for everyone. They have a wide range of styles to flatter every body type, and you can often choose the style of panty you want with each bra (as some people are exclusively hipster types while others prefer thongs).

There are a few key things about Adore Me that I love:
- Sales! Don't want to pay the full (but totally reasonable) price for a set? No problem. Hit up the sale section for BOGO deals.
- Extras. It seems like every time I order, there's a code to enter for a free panty or tote. Love this!
- Free stuff. I believe for every six full price orders you make, you get a free set (bra & panty, bathing suit, etc).

I recently wore a bathing suit from this site, and it was perfect. It kept everything where it should be and I was very happy. And the racerback bras are absolutely perfect for summer tank tops. (Bras should be kept hidden unless you want them to be shown off - we don't want to see regular bra straps coming out of racerback tanks!)

So, this is why I love Fabletics and Adore Me. They're both great and high quality. The best part is, you can be a VIP member of both to get the great deals, but skip any month you want. There's no obligation to purchase, so if you want to skip a month and resume the next one, you definitely can.

Looking for more shopping deals? Look to the right of this page and browse the "LTR Recommends" section. It links to all kinds of great shopping / sale sites.

Do You Want to See Jon Gosselin Strip? Now You Can!

Not to be cynical, but I don't think seeing Jon Gosselin strip is something most of us have wished for. In any case, if you're into ...